May 4, 2013

RhoDeo 1317 Beats

Hello, as we're seeing the first glimpses of what potentially could become a global pandemic news has been restricted by the odd message from China and Saudi Arabia where some have dropped dead, still it's a nasty bugger and any infection will spread quickly. Humans are so busy travelling all over the world, quarantining the middle east is doable but China ? I know there have been previous scares but this an extremely nasty virus and I'm under no illusion there are those in places of power that won't loose sleep over killing off 90% of us.

Meanwhile we're here for some beats, we've been getting serious and clinical and it should hardly be a surprise we turned to Germans for that so for the fourth week in a row we delve deep into the nature of electronic beats, Berlin seems to be conductive to the kinda minds exploring that they do have on odd sense of humor they named themselves after a terminal hypersaline and high alkaline (pH=10) lake in a basin that has no outlet to the ocean, Mono Lake...N'joy

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Monolake were among the most acclaimed and enduring artists to arise from the Berlin-based Basic Channel/Chain Reaction label group, run by Moritz "Maurizio" von Oswald and home to such champions of minimalist dub-techno austerity as Vainqueur, Substance, and Porter Ricks. Monolake initially consisted of Robert Henke and Gerhard Behles, but Behles departed during the early 2000s to run Ableton, the music software company that both producers established in 1999. For a stretch, Henke was Monolake's lone member, but in 2004 he was joined by Torsten Pröfrock, who had previously recorded for Chain Reaction as Various Artists and Resilent. No matter the membership, Monolake's output always sat at the intersection between abstract computer music and the more dance-derived techno redux of their early Chain Reaction labelmates.

Behles studied formally at Utrecht's Institute of Sonology (a noted fount of electronic experimentation formed in the late '60s by Stan Tempelaars and Gottfried Michael Koenig). Behles and Henke met at Berlin's Technical University, where Behles taught and Henke was studying sound engineering for film. Monolake formed somewhat by accident, when a first round of collaborative improvising in the studio led to a handful of tracks from which their first single, "Cyan," was soon pressed. A number of follow-up releases appeared in 1995 and 1996, with the best of these eventually joining new material on the 1997 CD release HongKong, an important release both for Chain Reaction (it's widely considered the label's finest) and Monolake (whose previously vinyl-only 12" releases reached a somewhat small, specialist audience).

Beginning with 1999's "Fragile" 12", almost every Monolake release was issued through Henke's Imbalance Computer Music label. If not as groundbreaking as the earlier releases, the albums Interstate (1999), Cinemascope (2001), Gravity (2001), Momentum (2003), Polygon Cities (2005), and Silence (2009) were uniformly excellent -- brisk, vibrant, and steely home-listening techno at its best, rich with details. In addition to his prolific release schedule throughout these years (he also issued several solo-in-name titles), Henke remained a software developer at Ableton and was also a mastering engineer at Berlin's revered Dubplates & Mastering facility. In 2012 Monolake released Ghosts moving somewhat into techstep.

Monolake's minimal, dub-influenced techno music helped establish the sound of the Chain Reaction label, also located in Berlin, subsequently using their own [ml/i] (Monolake / Imbalance Computer Music) label for the group's output. Both current members have solo projects, with Henke releasing under his own name and Pröfrock as "T++" and "Various Artists."

In 2008 T++ followed Ricardo Villalobos in bridging the gap between minimal techno and dubstep, by remixing Shackleton's Death Is Not Final for the Skull Disco label. In 2009, Robert Henke appeared in the electronic music documentary Speaking In Code which presented the completion of the Monodeck, a midi-controller interface for spontaneous editing and effects work during live performances, even without having to look at the computer screen. As of 2012, Henke has been designing a new form of live show syncing surround-sound audio stems with visual loops, allowing for improvisation.

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Hongkong compiles Monolake's early releases on Chain Reaction circa 1996-1997. There may not be any purer example of this influential German duo's early sound than the opening track, the mammoth "Cyan." Hongkong ends with two tracks from Monolake's release on the Din label, and also the previously unreleased "Mass Transit Railway." It's an opus of techno music, Monolake have perfected the minimalistic and dub ethos. Monstrously superlative sonic spacialism, constant yet paradoxically incremental alteration, authentic ambient soundscapes this record has it all.

Monolake - Hongkong ( flac 356mb)

01 Cyan 12:04
02 Index 10:21
03 Lantau 12:57
04 Macau 9:35
05 Arte 9:13
06 Occam 7:39
07 Mass Transit Railway 7:32

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A worthy follow-up to one of the best full-lengths of Berlin's experimental camp, Interstate continues in the pulse vein but breaks up all hints of the flowing trance states on HongKong by attaching waves of distortion apparently grabbed from Autobahn source recordings. It's a more up-front record than its predecessor, while the emphasis on solid programming and unheard sounds keeps it in the same category: excellent. this is an album that stands alone, without any peer. deeply aquatic, like sitting on a skiff in the middle of the swamp, listening to crickets, midges and birds flit about, every track on the record evokes heavy atmosphere, and flows seemlessly into the next. the album is anchored by a strong dub backbone, but this is highly original dub, mainly due to each track being so rhythmically engaging, unorthodox, and complex. stereo is used to great affect throughout, and each sound is carefully crafted. it's like an alien landscape at times, so lush, and so beautiful. It is so endearingly original that it will stand the test of time as a classic without parallel.

Monolake - Interstate ( flac 434mb)

01 Abundance 10:09
02 Gecko 7:26
03 Tangent I 8:05
04 Tangent II 9:22
05 Perpetuum 6:53
06 Amazon 10:58
07 Ginza 5:04
08 Terminal 6:11

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Again proving themselves the cream of Berlin's experimental underground, Monolake's Robert Henke and Gerhard Behles (the latter taking a slightly diminished role) produced a set of eight stellar tracks, some previously released on vinyl. Most of the songs on Gravity have a steady backbeat, and the second track, "Ice," hits pretty hard for something from the Chain Reaction school, despite the whispered vocals throughout. Absolutely amazing work that sounds years after its release more cutting edge then most other pieces produced during the period – it simply defies time, providing a journey into a deep and rewarding world of musical purity which grows into you as if a part of the thought process inside your brain begins to live in synergy with the enveloping ambience of the sound waves, living up to the stark definitions of the individual tracks, that despite to this posses a lushness one can only find in meditation on the inner self.

Monolake - Gravity ( flac 411mb)

01 Mobile 7:59
02 Ice 8:29
03 Frost 6:50
04 Static 9:34
05 Zero Gravity 5:53
06 Fragile 12:00
07 Aviation 7:49
08 Nucleus 9:17

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Anonymous said...

post tenderness kip hanrahan pls

Anonymous said...

Hi Rho

Any Chance of re-upping the Monolake flacs?

Thanks Al

Gianni Zhivago said...

Links are mixed and 1 doesn't work
Hong Kong gets you Interstate
Interstate does not work ... file missing

Rho said...

Hello Gianni, clearly i was distracted here, meanwhile everything is in order...N'Joy